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My Grandma’s Capirotada recipe is simple with not a lot of ingredients. The flavor takes me to another place in time when life was good and my mom was in the kitchen making this dish for us on a Sunday evening during Lent.  Above all, the Mexican bread pudding has warm notes from a beautifully rich syrup of cinnamon, clove, and piloncillo (think brown sugar).  

Why do I call this my “Grandma’s Recipe?”

To clarify, there’s a bit of a story behind this recipe. My mom made it this way for my dad as it was his mother’s recipe. She did that quite often because according to her when they first got married my dad would ask her to make certain dishes as his mom made it. Typical mama’s boy.

Apparently, my mom’s mother (Grandma Dolly) didn’t make Capirotada until much later in life when she remarried. I just love how family stories can sometimes circle around food.

YOU CAN MAKE THE MEXICAN DESSERT MANY WAYS

It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned Capirotada can be made a variety of ways depending on the region of Mexico someone is from. 

Over the years, I have enjoyed Capirotada made with milk, evaporated milk, even condensed milk. I’ve had it with bananas, prunes, mangos, and coconut. It’s a beautiful bread pudding that can be tailored to your liking. We even have a Tropical Capirotada recipe on our blog you’ll need to check out if you like mangos and coconuts. 

But, at the end of the day, it is my Grandma Laura’s Capirotada recipe that I long for every Lenten season. And, it gives me great pleasure to be able to make it for my dad since my mom and his mom are now in heaven. 

  

Grandma's Capirotada Recipe

Grandma's Capirotada Recipe

Yield: 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Capirotada is a traditional dessert bread pudding made during Lent.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of water
  • 3 Piloncillo cones
  • 3 Mexican cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts
  • 12 thick slices of bolillo or French bread (see note below)
  • 2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium-sized stockpot, add the water, piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, and cloves over medium-high heat. Allow the piloncillo to completely dissolve and the syrup thickens (about 10 to 15 minutes).
  3. Slice the bolillos about 1/3 inch thick and assemble on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes to toast.
  4. In a deep 9x9 inch baking dish, use some cooking spray on the bottom of the baking dish.
  5. In layers, add the toasted bread, sprinkle raisins, peanuts and cheese. Continue with the next layer until you have a full baking dish adding extra cheese and raisins on top.
  6. Spoon the syrup over the assembled dish until all the bread is moist.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Enjoy warm.

Notes

During Lent, many supermarkets now offer precut and toasted French bread made especially for Capirotada. This saves so much time.

About Post Author

Stephen Chavez

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69 thoughts on “GRANDMA’S CAPIROTADA RECIPE – Simple and Classic

      1. Thank you for this recipe! This appears to be similar to my grandmother’s recipe. I can’t wait to try it. It’s been so long. Lovely story.

          1. Oh wow! I have placed the bread in the oven over night. Deep frying is a new technique.

        1. Loved this recipe. Very similar to my mom’s capirotada. I added shaved coconut, replaced peanuts with shaved almonds, baked with cinnamon sticks in the dish.

          1. I know the comment’s from last Easter. Never too late! But you don’t eat the tortillas. They’re put at bottom of pan just as a lining to prevent sticking.

        1. Certainly it is the best dessert for me, I’m so fortunate that my mom makes it every year, The kitchen gets full of the wonderful aromas, can’t wait to eat the capirotada this year , your recipe is so much like my mama except she does uses tortillas on the bottom of the cazuela. Thank you for the great memories.

          1. Thank you for sharing. Like you, capirotada brings me so many memories of my mom as well.
            – Stephen

        2. I just bought the cookbook Fonda San Miguel. I had never heard of Capirotada. Their recipe includes bananas, pineapple green onions, raisins, cilantro and peanuts! I’m scared 😂 but I’m going to give it a try!

          1. Oh, wow! Green onions and cilantro. That is very interesting. Capirotada does originate from Spain and was originally more of a savory dish vs. a sweet dessert as it is today in Mexico and parts of the U.S. How did it come out?

          2. My mom made Capriotada with green onions and cilantro as well. I thought I was a bit nuts since I’ve never seen any recipes that use those two ingredients in it and so happy to see that there are others who do the same thing. More savory than sweet.

          1. Thin sounds so much like my mom’s recipe . She’s no longer with us but such great memories. She was trying to recreate her recipe to my brother and myself during her last few days. We had to improvise with what we had on hand. Piloncillo was no where to be found and I burnt the sugar. Brown sugar would have been so much easier. The only difference between hers and yours was buttering the toasted bread and tortillas on the bottom, no cloves but star anise and longhorn cheese instead of Monterey Jack.
            Thank you for bringing these memories to the forefront as I recently lost my brother ( partner in crime) to Covid

      2. Is amazingly good! Instead of cooking it on the stove orbiting it, I used the crock pot. Turned out yummy! Didn’t add coconut since my son isn’t a fan. I used chopped pecans since we lve in Texas. Thank you @

  1. Thank you for the recipe. My Mami and Tita made it but with no measurements for ingredients. I have tested recipes to get it to my taste. Loved your simple take on it and your suggestion to modify it to create your own recipe.

    1. Between the two of us, our styles are very different. I (Art) am a recipe developer but Stephen is a good intuitive cook with a good palate. I have to be more structured for the guided cooking I typically do for others, but, yes, this dish should be cooked from the heart. We hope you decide to share a pic with us of your next capirotada!

    1. OMG I’ve been looking for this recipe for the longest time it is exactly the same recipe my abuelita would use to make her capirotada . Thank you so so much I finally found it. I made it this morning and it’s already gone. I finally have it I copy the recipe again thank you for posting it. Will be sharing it with family

  2. I made your recipe and it was a hit at our family’s Easter gathering. My mom used to make capirotada and I never took the time to write it down. I regret not taking the time to get her recipe. My family reminded me that she added bananas to hers so I did that to mine in a last minute effort. I also made a dulce de leche that I put on top with some sprinkles.

    Thank you for your inspiration.

    1. Wow! Olivia that all sounds so delicious AND decadent with the dulce de leche on top with sprinkles. LOVE that idea. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  3. That looks just like my grandma’s, too! She also used colored sprinkles and raisins, peanuts and sometimes Monterey Jack or sometimes Cheddar. It’s one of my mom’s favorite desserts!

  4. Crazy, my parents are both Mexican I grew up in a Mexican American neighborhood, I love bread pudding and I’ve never even heard of Capirotada, much less had it. It just goes to show what a big and diverse place Mexico is. Me never having it also probably has a lot to do with the fact that my mom always give up sugar for Lent 🙂
    Thanks for the information and inspiration, I am going to go nuts making this every which way possible this holiday season.

  5. Made this delicious dessert tonight. So good and easy to make. I added some banana slices which made it soo gooood!
    Not sure if this is correct but I felt the bottom was too soggy and the top too crispy. I will refrigerate and see how it is cold.
    Thank you for this recipe!

  6. I was very young when my mother used to make the Capirotada that I didn’t get a chance to get her recipe. My mom passed away very young, and I was only in my teens. Reading this recipe reminded me of her ingredients, except she didn’t put peanuts. I going to try and make Capirotade this coming Sunday. I hope it’s come out must like hers, I still remember the flavor and taste to this day. Thank you for sharing.

  7. What are other cheese options? I’ve had some capirotada that taste good but was ruined by the cheese they used. I’m guessing they used a cheese with a very low melting point which made it waxy

  8. This is how I make mine and everyone loves it! I cut out the deep frying the bread when I started making it! Just adds calories! Its delicious! Easter is the only time I make it!

  9. Thank you for the recipe, my sister has been asking me to make this for easter (she doesn’t cook) since my mom passed over 10 years ago. It is very close to my mom’s recipe except she used walnuts instead of peanuts and sometimes she would add diced apples. I missed easter this year, but maybe I will surprise my sister during another time this year.

  10. Though I am half-Mexican, I never had Capirotada before. A dear friend from Veracruz mentioned it one day. I googled it and found your recipe. I made it and replaced the peanuts with 1/2 c sliced almonds and 1/2 c chopped pecans. I replaced the cheese with Oaxaca cheese. I surprised her with my first ever Capirotada and she said it was super rica y deliciosa. She liked the mild sweetness since she is accustomed to using sweetened condensed milk. I did not know how to upload a photo. Muchas gracias!

  11. This is almost exactly how my mom taught my sister and I how to make it. The only difference is she would use French bread. She would slice the loaves and then butter each slice, put buttered slices on a baking sheet then lightly toast in oven. Then like your recipe she would layer in a big pot and add other ingredients the way you do in your instructions. So good!

  12. Thank you s much. My mother also made it like this except she would fried the bread. Other than that it’s the same thing. Will try making it for the 1st time. Thank you very much! ❤️

  13. This recipe is almost the same as my abuella’s. The ingredients are the same, but the ratios are slightly different. 5 cups water, 16-18oz piloncillo, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon whole cloves. She brushes the bread slices on both sides with melted butter (takes about 5 teaspoons of butter) and bakes them for 5 minutes on each side to dry and slightly toast them. She builds the first layer, adds 1/3 of the syrup, then lets that soak for 15 minutes. Build the second and third layers the same way, with 15 minutes between each layer and addition of syrup. Wait 15 minutes after last application of syrup, then cover with foil (sprayed with cooking oil to avoid sticking) and bake. Absolutely delish!!

      1. We 100% agree with you on that. Freshly shredded/grated cheese does melt differently and better. Store bought shredded/grated cheese is usually coated in starches or cellulose for shelf stability and to prevent clumping. P.S. Muenster cheese? YUM!

  14. Your recipe rekindled the opportunity to make the capirotada with my mom, the little colored dots were what stood out as a kid. We made it today and the smell of the canela lit up the house. My mom has some memory loss but your recipe helped jog her memory ad we made it together. Looking fwd to Adding my twist and making it fir my kids and friends and family. Food like this helps to stay true to our family cultural roots. God bless you.

  15. Is there any way to stop the icons from scrolling with the page on the right side? I’m talking about the FB, X, Pinterest & Instagram icons. They obscure the words and make your articles harder to read.

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